fbpx

We are back for another exciting weekend of combat sports for UFC Long Island in New York! We have a fun 12-fight slate on DraftKings and many fights that could end up being some fan favorite bangers. It also helps that on DraftKings we have another $100,000 to first place in the main contest.

As always, I give my analysis and DraftKings strategy based on how I see each fight matchup playing out. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter  with any questions that you have leading up until fight night Saturday.

Emily Ducote vs Jessica Penne
Ducote, -150; Penne, +130

Emily Ducote is stepping in on short notice to make her UFC debut against Jessica Penne. Ducote previously fought over in Invicta and is currently on a three-fight win streak. She is an 11-6 prospect with seven of her wins coming inside the distance. She holds a black belt in Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I do not consider her as a super prospect by any stretch, but she does have some solid skills with her biggest issue being too willing to stay on her back and throw up submissions rather than work back to her feet.

Penne is coming off a first-round armbar submission victory over Karolina Kowalkiewicz last August. She is currently on a two-fight win streak since making her return to the octagon after a four-year layoff. Penne holds a black belt in BJJ as well and eight of her 14 career victories have come by submission. That is clearly her game plan is to stay in close and grind on you while looking for an opportunity to grapple. She averages just over 1.5 takedowns per 15 minutes, and I expect her to look to grapple in this one as well.

This should be a competitive fight, but I have to side with the younger fighter that is likely still improving. Ducote should be the more active striker and can even land takedowns of her own as she comes from a high school wrestling background. I have no interest in laying chalk on Ducote in what should be a competitive fight but I do expect her to win. Ducote by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target on DraftKings.

Dwight Grant vs Dustin Stoltzfus
Grant, -165; Stoltzfus, +140

Dwight Grant is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Sergey Khandozkho in April. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak and has never been a fighter that I could put a ton of confidence in regardless of the matchup. Grant is a decent kickboxer and carries some knockout power but he is notorious for getting himself hurt. Because of that and just being a low output fighter in general, it is tough to back him as a favorite.

His opponent, Dustin Stoltzfus is coming off a third-round submission loss to Gerald Meerschaert in a fight that he was likely going to win. He is 0-3 in the UFC but has had some tough matchups and it looks like he is being slept on based on the betting odds. Stoltzfus is not a great striker by any stretch, but he does have some powerful leg kicks and I trust him to be more aggressive than Grant in terms of the output. He is also the more likely of the two to land takedowns and even landed four in his last fight against Meerschaert.

In a fight where I do not put a ton of stock in either guy and the underdog is likely going to be more aggressive and have a grappling edge, I am taking that almost every time. Stoltzfus by decision is the official pick but a finish would not surprise me either considering Grant’s history.

Dustin Jacoby vs Da Un Jung
Jacoby, -135; Jung, +115

Dustin Jacoby is coming off a decision victory over Michal Oleksiejczuk at UFC 272 in March and is currently on a three-fight win streak. He is yet to record a loss since returning to the UFC in 2020 and has leaned on his kickboxing background throughout his run of success. He is a high-volume striker primarily using a kicking attack and will look to repeatedly beat up the legs of his opponents. Outside of that though, there is not much to worry about as he rarely proactively grapples and only defends takedowns at 58%.

His opponent, Da Un Jung is coming off a first-round knockout victory over Kennedy Nzechukwu in November. Jung is also yet to lose in the UFC and 11 of his 15 career wins have come by knockout. He clearly has power in his hands but also proved to be a capable wrestler in his fight against William Knight when he landed eight takedowns.

I expect this fight to primarily play out on the feet with it being the leg kicks of Jacoby versus the power shots of Jung. I thought I would have more interest in Jung coming into the week, but I think it is lined accurately with Jacoby being worthy of a small favorite price tag due to cardio and volume edge. Jacoby by decision is the official pick.

Bill Algeo vs Herbert Burns
Algeo, -170; Burns, +145

Bill Algeo is coming off a decision victory over Joanderson Brito in January. Algeo is a solid prospect that can be competitive wherever the fight goes. He is a high-volume striker and fights with his hands down too much, but he has proven to be very durable as he has never been knocked out in his career. He also holds a black belt in BJJ although he typically does not land takedowns and is easy to takedown himself but great at working back to his feet.

His opponent, Herbert Burns is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Daniel Pineda in August of 2020 so has taken nearly two years off since we last saw him. Burns is a dangerous submission grappler with eight of his 11 wins coming by submission. He is aggressive in getting things to the mat and is good enough to find a finish once he gets it there. The biggest issue with Burns is that he is too one-dimensional in that if he cannot submit you early then he is likely going to lose. He is extremely low volume on the feet so the only way he can win is by submitting you or taking you down and holding you down for the majority of the fight.

That is where this becomes a bad matchup for him as Algeo is going to be winning the striking exchanges convincingly. Algeo is also notorious for working back to his feet after being taken down and has not been submitted since 2014. Algeo by decision is the official pick and this is a decent fight to target on DraftKings.

Jack Shore vs Ricky Simon
Shore, -155; Simon, +135

Jack Shore is coming off a decision victory over Timur Valiev in March. He is an undefeated prospect at 16-0 with 12 of those wins coming inside the distance. Despite the impressive pedigree, the run of victories has not been flawless to say the least. As he moves up in competition, he tends to look less dominant, and this was evident by the split-decision win against Hunter Azure last April and his most recent fight against Valiev. Despite the concerns, he is still a highly rated prospect with solid leg kicks and good grappling. His wrestling is not the greatest but he does average over four takedowns per 15 minutes and is able to control guys against the fence for extended periods.

His opponent, Ricky Simon is a bad stylistic matchup for Shore as Simon is a much better wrestler and very physically imposing. Simon is coming off a second-round knockout victory over Raphael Assuncao in December and is currently on a four-fight win streak. Simon averages nearly seven takedowns per 15 minutes and I expect him to be the one more likely to land takedowns in this fight as well. To this point, he has been very good about avoiding submissions while in top position and that is likely to be tested here against Shore. Simon should also be the better boxer of the two and I expect him to be landing the bigger shots.

Overall, this is a great fight with two prospects that I respect a lot. But I have to side with Simon who is more proven against tougher competition and will likely have multiple advantage over Shore including overall strength. Simon by decision is the official pick and this is another good fight to target on DraftKings.

Punahele Soriano vs Dalcha Lungiambula
Soriano, -260; Lungiambula, +220

Punahele Soriano is coming off a split-decision loss to Nick Maximov his last time out in February and is currently on a two-fight losing streak. Soriano is a heavy-handed southpaw with five of his eight career wins coming by first-round knockout. He has had difficult matchups against good grapplers in back-to-back matchups though and this should be a favorable draw to get back in the win column against Dalcha Lungiambula.

Lungiambula does have some sort of wrestling background but not to the extent of Nick Maximov and Soriano wrestled in college as well. Referred to as “Dalcha champion,” the former ECF champion has left more to be desired during his 2-3 UFC stint. He is a physical specimen and carries legitimate power when he lets his hands go but that is not very often as he only averages 3.3 significant strikes per minute. To his credit, he has ramped up the volume in his last two fights, but his cardio and durability are both concerns for me as he has been finished in three of his four professional losses.

Either guy has the power to win by knockout and both guys do not have the best gas tank either, but I still prefer the Soriano side as I believe he is the more powerful striker with better durability. Soriano by knockout is the official pick and he is a strong play on DraftKings.

Meisha Tate vs Lauren Murphy
Tate, -170; Murphy, +145

Meisha Tate is coming off a decision loss to Ketlen Vieira in a main event in November. Tate is 1-1 since returning to the UFC and seems to be about the same fighter she was when she stepped away in 2016. She is low volume on the feet but will lean on her wrestling and averages two takedowns per 15 minutes.

Her opponent, Lauren Murphy is coming off a title shot loss to Valentina Shevchenko last September which snapped a five-fight win streak. Murphy is a fighter that I have not given enough credit for on her UFC run. Despite being gifted a few close decisions, she is a well-rounded fighter that will make rounds competitive.

I expect this fight to be very competitive with the striking being even and it coming down to who will have the better wrestling and cardio. I lean with Tate, but I do not have much interest in getting involved with this fight at all. Tate by decision is the official pick.

Shane Burgos vs Charles Jourdain
Burgos, -190; Jourdain, +160

Shane Burgos is coming off an action-packed decision victory over Billy Quarantillo at UFC 268 last November. He is a high-volume striker with legitimate knockout power and always puts on a show for the fans. Burgos is a fan favorite with his fighting style, but it is not the greatest in terms of defense and long-term health. He typically relies on head movement as he fights with his hands down and we have seen him eat plenty of clean shots along with the scary knockout loss to Edson Barboza at UFC 262. He is an excellent minute-winner though and the durability is the only real concern.

His opponent, Charles Jourdain is coming off a first-round submission victory over Lando Vannata in April. He is currently on a two-fight win streak and has a similar fighting style to Burgos in that he is looking to put a ton of volume out there or knock you out trying. I do expect Jourdain to have some success at times, but the size difference is going to be noticeable as Burgos is going to be much bigger and hold a six-inch reach advantage.

I am not expecting it to be a blowout by any stretch, but I favor Burgos to be the one landing more volume and having bigger moments on the feet. He will also have a cardio edge down the stretch which could play a big factor if the first two rounds are closer than I think. Burgos by decision is the official pick and he has the volume to score well even in a decision on DraftKings.

Su Mudaerji vs Matt Schnell
Mudaerji, -260; Schnell, +220

Su Mudaerji is coming off a decision victory over Zarrukh Adashev in January and is currently on a three-fight win streak. Mudaerji is a great striker with power in his hands as 13 of his 16 career wins have come by knockout. The biggest issue with Mudaerji has always been his defensive grappling as he has been submitted in all four of his professional losses.

His opponent, Matt Schnell is fresh off a first-round submission loss to Brandon Royval in May at UFC 274. Schnell is well-rounded fighter but is not someone that can confidently win rounds without big moments or finishes in most matchups. He has a solid jab but does not have the power to hurt Mudaerji on the feet. And although he is a black belt in BJJ, he typically does not land takedowns, so it is tough to expect him to get the fight there.

This is a matchup where both guys play into each other’s weaknesses as Mudaerji has real knockout power and Schnell tends to be a bit fragile. On the flip side, if Schnell can somehow force some grappling exchanges, then he would be live to find a submission. Overall, I favor the Mudaerji by a wide margin and expect him to get his hand raised but I like this fight to end inside the distance. Mudaerji by knockout is the official pick and he is a strong play in the expensive range on DraftKings.

Muslim Salikhov vs Jingliang Li
Salikhov, -175; Li, +150

We last saw Muslim Salikhov win a decision over Francisco Trinaldo in June of last year. He is currently on a five-fight win streak and will look to keep the momentum going against Jingliang Li. Salikhov comes from a high-level kickboxing background and 12 of his 18 wins have come by knockout. He is low output on the feet but picks his spots well. His defensive grappling is not great, and he recently turned 38 years old so it’s not all roses for the “King of Kung Fu.”

His opponent, Jingliang Li is coming off a first-round submission loss to Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi last October. Li is a well-rounded fighter that should be the more active fighter on the feet although I do expect him to eat some big shots in this one. Li is the better submission grappler but only averages 1.25 takedowns per 15 minutes, so I doubt he comes out aggressively wrestling in this one.

I think Li is a live underdog here and I want to believe he wins this fight, but Salikhov is just a tough opponent. The style that he fights makes it hard for his opponents to clearly win rounds and he has yet to lose a decision in his career. Salikhov by decision is the official pick but I will be rooting for Li and think he has more upside at his price on DraftKings.

Amanda Lemos vs Michelle Waterson
Lemos, -315; Waterson, +260

Amanda Lemos is coming off a first-round submission loss to Jessica Andrade in April. That was her first UFC loss since her debut back in 2017 and snapped a five-fight win streak. Lemos is one of the most powerful strikers in the division and most women are unable to stand and trade with her without being finished. However, her cardio is always a concern as she slows down outside of round one.

Her opponent, Michelle Waterson is coming off a decision loss to Marina Rodriguez last May. Waterson is a well-rounded fighter that will be competitive wherever the fight goes but I struggle to put her in the elite category. She will rely on her Taekwondo kicking approach while at range and occasionally show off some of her Judo with a takedown or two. She is not much of a finisher, but I would give her the grappling edge if she can take the fight there.

I expect Lemos to have the bigger moments on the feet and clearly win round one if she does not find a finish. Despite her knockout power, I would be surprised if she could get Waterson out of there as she has historically been very durable throughout her career. Which means this fight likely comes down to rounds two and three. I do favor Waterson’s cardio, but I do not have much confidence that she can clearly win rounds down the stretch unless she grapples which remains a big ‘if’ variable. Lemos by decision is the official pick but there are better fights to target this week on Draftkings.

Brian Ortega vs Yair Rodriguez
Ortega, -165; Rodriguez, +140

Brian Ortega is coming off an action-packed title shot loss to current Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski. The fight took place back at UFC 266 last September and Ortega took some major damage throughout the fight but somehow made it to the final bell and even nearly earned a finish himself with a tight guillotine choke. Ortega is one of the most dangerous grapplers in the UFC with seven of his 13 wins coming by submission. His striking has clearly improved but his grappling will always be his biggest advantage and clearest path to victory and that applies for this matchup as well.

His opponent, Yair Rodriguez is coming off a number one contender fight against Max Holloway where he dropped a unanimous decision in November. Rodriguez is a technical kickboxer that will throw in volume and has some knockout power as well mainly with his kicking attacks. He is very fast on the feet with dangerous kicks and spinning attacks that always keep his opponents guessing.

Rodriguez is going to have the striking advantage despite Ortega’s recent improvement with his boxing. Rodriguez has never been submitted but I expect Ortega to threaten once he gets this fight to the mat. An issue with Ortega in the past was his inability to land takedowns or lack of trying but that has not been the same as of late. Ortega has landed two or more takedowns in his last three fights. With five rounds to work again, I expect that to be the gameplan. Ortega by submission is the official pick and I will have one of the main event fighters in almost every lineup I make this weekend.